LGBTQ people in many societies are subjected to discrimination and abuse. Policy changes at the corporate level can normalise homosexuality in our society and tread the path for a better future. Human rights are indivisible rights granted to all people. However, in many countries the LGBTQ people are still being denied of those rights.
In India, the Supreme Court has decriminalised homosexuality by declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional that infringed the fundamental rights of autonomy, intimacy and identity. However on a society level, have we as individuals accepted the legalisation of LGBTQ relationships?
Thousands of LGBTQ people are still living in the throes of discrimination and abuse in the society and at work places. While change in the attitude of society can be brought about through individuals and families, policy changes in the corporates can greatly benefit and empower people from the sexual minority.
In light of the rising concerns towards the LGBTQ people and to create a more equitable work space for everybody, TATA Steel has increased the provisions for its employees from the community. The company has replaced ‘spouse’ in all the official documents with ‘partner’ and has extended its medical cover and other benefits including to the partners of the LGBTQ people.
There have been lots of companies promoting diversity at workplace however, Tata Steel will be one of the pioneers in offering such benefits across all categories to LGBTQ partners. To prepare the groundwork for this move, Tata Steel launched an employee resource group called Wings under the company’s diversity and inclusion platform Mosaic last year. The objective was to create a safe environment for people to declare their identity. The company has also initiated skill development programs for transgender persons through its vendors.
Observing this, some might believe that inclusion only pertains to being non-discriminatory with regards to culture, gender, abilities or religion. But it goes beyond that. In a world where LGBTQ people are constantly being singled out and endure unimaginable hardships to achieve success, doubts and insecurities are naturally in-rooted in them. Creating an inclusive work place will encourage other employees to learn about such issues and enable them to be more open to diversity.